“I think all women should feel free. Our bodies are vessels: it’s how we move through the world.”
“I think all women should feel free. Our bodies are vessels: it’s how we move through the world.”
"White Rabbit" centers around Sophia, a Korean American queer woman who immigrated to the US when she was seven and lives in Koreatown, Los Angeles. She is a performance artist who often speaks at significant places where Koreans and Korean Americans gather. As someone who lived in Koreantown, I recognized many of the locations where scenes of the movie were filmed such as the Koreatown Plaza, making use of authentic locations.
As a Korean American I was able to understand many of the cultural insights and I felt this special connection to the movie. I really enjoyed it. There were also parts of the movie that were in Korean. For every movie, there’s different levels of understanding and this is one of the reasons why I got to a deeper connection than other films I’ve seen.
The show 14/48:HS consisted of seven premier shows all written, produced, memorized, and performed in 24 hours, the next night they do it all again. All productions put on are by teenagers, and everything from the set design to the writing and even the band are all done in under 24 hours. I saw the first seven shows that the company was putting on throughout the weekend-long event and the drive and passion shown was astonishing.
The shows were created in teams and reached through several genres and topics. Some plays were comedies, such as “Finishing The Block” or the show “Spiral” which included a multitude of hilarious metaphors to describe the ridiculous plot of one of the characters not being able to stop spinning in circles. Others were mysterious or serious, such as “Onto the Carousel” that never quite gave an answer to the audience's questions about the story. The shows were focused on different topics and the writing style varied from writer to writer, but all shows had an element of comedy unique to each piece that enhanced the production such as situational irony or a hint of sarcasm in the dialogue. This was used quite often in an amusing play about twins called “Identical.” The plays also had a deeper hidden message, whether it was evident through the words and body language like the show “Deja Vu,” or hidden behind jokes and clever repartee. Two shows performed, “This Dance” and “Try This On For Size,” are brilliant examples of this doctrine; both began with a series of comical actions before coming to a profound ending that gave the show a strong moral philosophy. The writing of the shows was way above the standard for teenage writing, which further highlights the incredible dedication that the students participating have.
There is a reason teens don’t review grown up music, it makes us sleepy.
The church-like Fremont Abbey was beautiful on Friday, October 12, with its blue and green lighting and soft stained glass windows. Lighting was calming to watch the music. It was peaceful and so quiet.
As the flannel-clad audience slowly trickled into the Fremont Abbey Arts Center, it was immediately obvious what kind of show we were in for.
The concert-goers, mainly white couples over thirty who seem to have forgotten that most of us left being “hipster” in 2015, chatted under pretty string lights that zigzagged under the former church’s high ceilings. A lone pair of house speakers played indie rock, folk, and country music that gave further hints to the overall energy of the show to come.
If you’ve lived in Seattle long enough, at some point, you might have seen a poster for Twisted Flicks and wondered what Jet City Improv’s on-the-spot movie redubbing entails. The premise for the show is simple: an obscure black and white movie is played in its entirety while improv performers and musicians reimagine the dialogue and score. It’s been happening with a new film every month ever since the 1997 original, but, on October 25th, I saw the opening night performance of Ed Wood’s Bride of the Monster.
I immediately loved the mood of the venue from the moment I walked in. A large amount of attendees who seemed to be regulars were already seated and mingling with the cast, who were roaming the theater for suggestions. This atmosphere made the space feel like it hosted a community of people who cared about each other—comedians who love to perform and an audience eager to support them. Even with an established fan base, the environment was nothing but welcoming and not exclusionary in any capacity.
Moments of brilliance abound in Night Parade, the latest offering from Pork Filled Productions and REBATEnsemble, but the play suffers from a convoluted storyline. Though it stands out for its engaging stagecraft and costuming, Night Parade simply has too many ideas.
After arriving at an undisclosed location, the audience is ushered into a cramped lobby, where tea is served and Japanese music sets an ominous tone. Posters on the minimal wall space bear information pertaining to such Japanese folktales as the “Nine-Tailed Fox,” “The Tale of the Shutan Doji,” and the play’s primary inspiration, “The Night Parade of a Hundred Demons,” an ancient legend surrounding the procession of supernatural creatures. Viewers of this parade perish upon sight. Then, we are led into an immersive gallery space, displaying the works of tragic, deceased, and fictitious Japanese artist Shunkuno Arashi (an excellent Aimee Decker). The gallery is run by the tightly wound curator Herald Stass (Andrew Forrest), an exploitative art-hound with skeletons in his closet. He is accompanied by his assistant (Buddy Todd), who is tasked with the tiresome comic gag of handing out tiny pencils to the audience, and the mysterious Nurari (Season Qiu), a sharply dressed man who claims to have known Arashi.
What do you think of when you hear the word “November”? Thanksgiving? Fall? Homework? Boredom? How about “midterms” or “politics”? For those lucky TeenTix members who are of voting age and ready to make their voices heard, the word “November” will probably inspire excitement and fear—the fate of the government is in their hands. The rest of us, however, will have to settle for seeing political and social justice-themed art.
From a guitar god who felt boxed in by racial stereotypes to an interactive piece about protests, from a talk about the Obamas to the legacy of Muhammad Ali, we’ve got a packed month ahead. We’ll be exploring political-themed events through all of November, so you can dive into politics even after the election.
The night of October 19, it was especially dark with a touch of rain, and my plus-one invite canceled on me an hour before the performance. I felt cold, glum and ever-so-slightly heartbroken—it wasn’t hard to relate to Sweeney Todd and become emotionally invested in the show.
This morose feeling continued inside the theater where a suspended sign, made of burlap and decorated with the play’s title, rested in front of the stage curtains. A faceless announcer warned the audience to obey the rules, “or else you might end up in Sweeney’s chair.”
Seattle Opera's newest opera, an adaptation of the book The Turn of The Screw by Henry James, will leave you forever haunted by the spirits that reside in the Bly mansion. In mere minutes, we are staring into a somber world cast by phantom-like blue walls. What was most memorable to me in The Turn of The Screw was the attention put into the set. When looking at the stage, it was the little things I noticed, like the blue plaid design of the governesses skirt, or the haunting lights that illuminated the children’s mischievous faces. Seeing these set details, created by scenic designer Robert Dahlstrom, lighting designer Connie Yun, and production designer Adam Larsent, communicated to me the thoughts put into helping tell each piece of the story.
The Turn of the Screw by Seattle Opera. Photo by Philip Newton.
The set transported us into the world of a traditionally spooky haunted house. What begins as a brick wall against a gray background transforms into a stately home and a dreary lake. This wall gives us a glimpse into the lives of the two haunted souls who reside in the Bly Manor. This is very central to the story because everything we see is from the governess's perspective. Some may even say the governess is mad, which can be interpreted from the dialogue in the book. In turn, this wall represents the governess's mind and shows that perhaps some things have not played out the way we, the audience, have interpreted them to be. All this is woven together by some great lighting, one wall, and a powerful projector. In these scenes, color is used in a very clever and mysterious way. In Act One, the set is washed in a mundane gray that evokes a feeling of normality, or the very cliche saying “same old, same old.” As the story progresses, the color theme changes to undertones of blue. The transition to these colors gradually overwhelms the longer the governess stays at Bly Manor and the more invested we are in the plot. At the climax, we first catch a glimpse of the ghost of Peter Quint. His set is bathed in dark blue, despite being outside, foreshadowing our meeting him and hinting that there may be more to what we see. Later on, we see a chair washed in purple light, a murky lake with hidden secrets, and two twin beds left in the kind of darkness that makes you want to wrap a blanket around yourself and cower. These color choices and themes allude to a feeling of mystery and suspense that excites us and suggests a ghostly encounter by using colors that are mysterious and dark to remind us something's not quite right. These undertones also appear in the carefully curated clothing each character wears. My favorite costume, designed by the costume designer Deborah Trout, is that of Miss Jessel, consisted of an eerie plum colored dress.
The Turn of the Screw by Seattle Opera. Photo by Philip Newton.
The Teeny Awards, an annual ceremony run by TeenTix to honor their partner organizations and art’s collision with teens in the Seattle community, is something of a mecca for the artistically inclined youth in the area. However, I’d never heard of the awards before I volunteered to write this piece. Reminiscing on my memories of past awards events, I expected a bowl of Ritz crackers, a seemingly bored keynote speaker, and a few merits that would be given for criteria that I wasn’t totally sure were met by the winners. I’d heard glowing praises of this event, though, so I entered with an open mind.
There are two types of people: people who love fall, and people who LOVE fall. Here on the Teen Editorial Staff, we fall into the latter category. Besides the cooler weather, there’s all the trappings of fall, too. Here in Seattle, we have the whole gamut—fuzzy socks, pumpkin patches, cute picture spots, a torrential, neverending wall of rain—anything you could want! But here at TeenTix, it’s safe to say that Spooky Season is officially in full swing—and that’s why our October theme is all things eerie!
From murderous barbers, spooky films, to horror novelas, the month of October is packed full of scares. We hope to invoke thrill in our readers, and push them to check out these wonderfully eerie productions.
There’s a stigma against country music. Everyone has the same assumption—a twangy assortment of half-clothed women, guns, and an unusual, unnatural love for one’s truck set over a backdrop of rolling wheat fields and cattle herds. And those assumptions lead to changing the radio station at the first hint of mandolin—something I am guilty of too. And while there is certainly country music that fits that description, there’s a whole other side to the genre that is often ignored, set to sunsets over the open plains, a deep sense of family, and, often, a longing for something more. The evening’s acoustic set, headlined by Radney Foster, captured the longing of a quirky small town life, and how that deep sense of belonging, while comfortable and familiar, can sometimes be strangling.
The evening began with a set by Luke Martin, a long-haired man who reminded me vaguely of a wood elf. The stage was set as a living room, complete with an armchair and side table with a pitcher of water. He languished on a wooden stool and seemed very comfortable with the guitar in his hands. He sang of longing and of love, set to a masterfully finger-picked acoustic backdrop. His slight lean and big eyes only lended to the aura he cast, of desire and a fierce compassion. After all, as he sang, “it ain’t no use being alone, this I know."
When I think about America, especially in our current political climate, I think about prejudice. Bigotry seems to have infected every part our nation and, as a teen, it often feels like reducing the amount of discrimination in our country is simply impossible. Many current events and happenings in the news pile on, spreading hate and contributing towards a perpetual feeling of political stagnation and ambivalence. But Vishavjit Singh, in both his exhibit, “Wham! Bam! Pow!” at the Wing Luke Museum, and talk, “Vishavjit Singh: Sikh Captain America” at Town Hall Seattle, shows that combating discrimination, while not an easy task, is something each and everyone of us can and should be working towards.
Singh, a self-described “accidental cartoonist” and former software engineer, was pressured by his parents to pursue a career in the sciences. He was inspired to start drawing in the aftermath of 9/11, after experiencing and witnessing harassment and discrimination against anyone who looked similar to the perpetrating terrorists. Singh remembers finding out that the towers had been attacked—he was at work when he saw it on TV. Immediately, another employee was staring at him. Singh states that “his angry, bloodshot eyes was my first introduction of things to come.” And things only got worse—as Singh was driving home, “just about every driver on the road… took time to flip [me] off or scream at [me] in anger.” In the period directly after the attack, Singh had to work from home in order to avoid harassment.
I'm not someone who's really into horror. It's just not something I grew up having, and nowadays, it seems to be rapidly dropping in quality. I’m also not someone who's really into improv. I've always liked the idea, but, as a newcomer, the thought of audience interaction always seemed too intimidating. So when I went to see Dark Fantastic, a horror improv show, I really had no idea what to expect. I only knew the show combined horror with improv, a primarily humour driven art, so it interested me quite a bit.
The theatre was small—49-max-occupants-small, to be specific—with sheets of cellophane covering brick walls, foreshadowing the gory fates that lay ahead. When the show started, the audience was asked two questions. First, “What is your biggest fear?” (to which someone replied, “A Roomba”), and, second, “What is an object you would find in your grandmother's house?” Answer? “ A Doily.”
I used to be a dancer. When I danced, however, I never felt closely connected with what I was asked to perform. Sure, The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty were classics, but their stories didn’t represent my identity. I didn’t feel that my dancing reflected who I was.
At Whim W’Him’s Choreographic Shindig IV, however, the company could choose pieces and choreographers that reflected them. For the Choreographic Shindig IV, the dancers chose three choreographers—Alice Klock, Brendan Duggan, and Omar Román de Jesús. These artists, using the dancers’ input, created three 20-minute pieces: "Before After," "Stephanie Knows Some Great People," and "Welcome to Barrio Ataxia." Klock’s piece, "Before After," dealt with the death of one world and the birth of the next. It began with the end: a spotlight illuminated a soloist clad in grey, slowly rubbing his hands together. He then moved about the space, clearly suffering. When he was spent, he collapsed to the ground. His death sharply contrasted with what came next. Two dancers, wearing green, created life through fluid extensions and expansive gestures, their movements reminiscent of youthful deer running across a field.
Opening night at Book-It's production of Jane Eyre was a memorable experience. The place was bustling with an activity and vibrancy synonymous with champagne, cupcakes, and opening night.
The play began with a girl, Jane, holding a candle in the dark and singing an eerie song —replicating the Gothic Romanticism portrayed in Brontë’s novel. As the night progressed, full and rich with English accents, the story switched perspectives from the first, second, and third person. Parts of the show embodied Brontë’s novel, with characters even quoting iconic lines, like “Reader, I married him.”
Rarely do I enter a play with as many thoughts and questions as I had going into Richard III at Seattle Shakespeare Company. There was so much to be explored: would a historical play remain accessible not only 400 years after it was written, but 500 years after its events occurred? And what would it be like to see this play – with 21 male characters and 4 female characters – presented by an all-female cast? The answers I found are a testament to the power of Shakespeare’s words to cross boundaries of gender and time, and a testament to what amazing, powerful theatre Seattle Shakespeare Company’s actresses can create when they bring life to all his words – not only those of his few female characters.
One feature which makes all-female productions so exciting, particularly when it comes to all-female productions of Shakespeare, are the opportunities offered for female performing artists, who tend to have fewer opportunities than their male counterparts in the world of Shakespeare. The bard’s plays contain far more roles for men than for women, perhaps because they were originally performed by all-male casts. All-female productions like this open the door for audiences to experience the unique talent and perspectives that female performers can bring to the full array of magnificent roles Shakespeare created. And works of art placing women in positions of power, onstage and behind the scenes, are much-needed today and always. So naturally, I was excited that Seattle Shakespeare Company had chosen to collaborate again with the upstart crow collective to present this sequel to Bring Down the House, their highly-praised all-female adaptation of the Henry VI trilogy.
The battle cry “Us versus them,”and the brutal labeling accompanying it, is all too familiar today. One might not expect a seemingly simple historical fiction musical to offer a relevant response, yet Taproot Theatre’s Sweet Land does just that with touching, convicting, and joyful power. Sweet Land tells the story of a young German woman, Inge Altenburg, who travels to Minnesota to marry a man she’s never met, Norwegian Olaf Torvik. But with World War I a recent and painful memory, Olaf’s community condemns the match, delaying the marriage. The events of this waiting period–the challenges faced, relationships built, and lives changed—are the heart of the musical’s story.
Molli Corcoran and Tyler Todd Kimmel in Sweet Land, the Musical at Taproot Theatre. Photo by Erik Stuhaug.
The piece is a tour de force for Molli Corcoran (Inge) and Tyler Todd Kimmel (Olaf), who carry the story with moving, grounded brilliance. Corcoran’s vocal versatility and acting ability are immediately evident in her introductory song, which clearly establishes both her talent and Inge’s character (kudos to composer Dina Maccabee and lyricist Laurie Flanigan Hegge for the soaring work of storytelling that is the score). The tough, loving, courageous “mail-order bride” Inge is unafraid to be the voice of reason and to act in defiance of “what people will think.” Her “strength, power, and grace” are some of the first things to strike her fiancé. Olaf is a man of few words—yet Kimmel skillfully creates the character through his striking physicality and presence. Long before he has spoken, the audience knows Olaf well, and, in moments when the stage is full of movement and sound, it is the still, shy farmer who draws the audience’s eye. While waiting for the outside approval the community requires before allowing their marriage, Inge and Olaf come to understand and love one another. Their blossoming relationship—conveyed as much through wordless glances and softening physicality as through words—is a joy to watch. Brownie and Alvin Frandsen (played by April Poland and Chris Shea, respectively) offer contrasting and complementary enthusiasm, loquaciousness, and levity as they alone support—and are ultimately supported alone by—Inge and Olaf. Notable among the many less supportive members of the community (played by a small but versatile ensemble) is Hugh Hastings as Pastor Sorensen, the minister who refuses to marry Inge and Olaf and who plays a large role in turning the community against the couple. Hastings and the writers of the musical’s book, Perring Post and Laurie Flanigan Hegge,make this character (who could easily become the stereotypical uber-conservative villain) refreshingly believable, complex, and ultimately redeemable.
Mickalene Thomas’s most recent exhibition, MUSE: Mickalene Thomas Photographs at the Henry Museum and tête-à-tête is a reminder of the importance of community in the process of creating and experiencing art. The collection features Thomas’s photography and film—both lesser known aspects of her artistic repertoire, but ones that deserve just as much appreciation as the imposing rhinestone-studded paintings she’s best known for. The exhibit, based on a book of the same title released in 2015, is embellished with a tête-à-tête of works curated by Thomas of artists she knows and takes inspiration from, including the work of Derrick Adams, John Edmonds, and Carrie Mae Weems among others.
Derrick Adams. Crossroads. 2012. Courtesy of the artist.